Dr Costas Velis


Costas is Lecturer in Resource Efficiency Systems at the School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds. He coordinates the Circualr Economy & Resource Recovery network, as part of the Cites University Theme. His research portfolio focuses on innovation for closing the materials loop and recovering energy from secondary resources (wastes). He serves as Vice Chair for ISWA European Group and Vice Chair for the Waste to Energy Resource and Technology Council - UK. Costas is the recipient of many prestigious international awards for his research papers, including the ISWA Publication Award 2015 and 2013, the CIWM James Jacskon Award for 2015, and the ICE Thomas Telford Award for 2014.

He is published in leading academic journals, serves as Associate Editor of Waste Management & Research, and of Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, and regularly peer-reviews for other journals (e.g. Environmental Science & Technology, Waste Management, Science of the Total Environment, Journal of Cleaner Production, Habitat International). Costas is a Chartered Waste Manager, registered with relevant professional bodies (CIWM, Institute of Physics). 

Costas's expertise in waste and resources management resulted in chairing conference sessions and participating in numerous scientific committees (e.g. ISWA World Congress 2014 Sao Paulo - Brasil, Africa Waste Congress 2014, ORBIT 2012). He often travels around the world to deliver invited lectures (e.g. New York, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Copenhagen, Munich, Geneva, Luanda, Athens). He is in the core author team commissioned by UNEP IETC which released the prestigeous first Global Waste Management Outlook, he chairs the Waste Altlas Scientific Committee and is coordinating member of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) Globalisation and Waste Management Task Force, steering committee member of the CIWM Thermal Treatment Special Interest Group, and member of the ISWA Working Group on Energy Recovery. He also sits in the Environment, Health and Safety Technical Interest Group - Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), which brings together academia and industry. 
Prior to joining University of Leeds, Costas worked at Imperial College London as Research Associate in Resource Recovery. He has obtained a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the Centre for Energy and Resource Technology, Cranfield University. In this applied research, he contributed to the understanding of material flows through mechanical-biological treatment plants (MBT) for the production of quality assured solid recovered fuel (SRF). He holds an MSc from Imperial College London in Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Development, where he investigated the informal recycling systems in developing countries and the birth of modern solid waste management in Victorian Britain, and he received the award for Best Sustainable Project Design Guide: 'Sustainable Landfill.' Costas initially graduated in physics from the University of Athens, with a major in Environmental Physics, researching the evolution of urban air pollution and the effectiveness of control measures in Athens from 1980 to 2000.from wastes, as informed by the Complex Value Resource Recovery Optimisation (C-VORR) research catalyst grant at University of Leeds, funded by NERC.


  • Programme Manager, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research interests

Costas’s active research portfolio spans many aspects of energy and materials recovery, specialising in production and quality assurance of secondary fuels and materials from wastes. With a diverse scientific background, his research vision is to advance the agenda for the sustainable recovery of resources which are currently wasted. To this, he attempts to introduce inter-disciplinary scientific approaches to the handling of waste, and to disseminate results into the ‘real world’ through industrial collaboration. Key areas of expertise are:

  • Circular economy
  • Production of solid recovered fuels (SRF) by mechanical-biological treatment plants (MBT)
  • Waste management and resource recovery systems appriasal methodologies
  • Waste/materials characterisation, including measurement of biomass enegry content
  • Quality management of secondary materials, including sampling and statistical aspects
  • Informal sector/ Inclusive recycling in environmentally developing countries
  • Historic perspectives on urban metabolism and materials recovery


  • MInstP
  • MSc
  • DIC

Professional memberships

  • IoP
  • ISWA
  • CIWM

Research groups and institutes

  • Energy Leeds
  • Waste Management and Resource Recovery
  • Cities and Infrastructure
  • Energy and Sustainable Buildings
  • Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering